For almost my whole life, i’ve been told how quiet i am. I was chronically shy growing up, which is something you never grow out of, and i find that often, i don’t have anything to say.
I find it very easy to be quiet. I think other people have an issue with that. Every single parents night, my mum would be told that i’m too quiet. That i would do better if i spoke up more, raised my hand more, joined in on class discussions.
She hated hearing it because it was just how i was; it didn’t mean i wasn’t smart or capable. It was the same chat every year. Being quiet is too often seen as a bad trait, and i really don’t think it is.
I used to associate being quiet with being shy. I was probably the most shy person in the world whilst i was a teenager, and keeping to myself just kind of came alongside that. However, my confidence has come on leaps and bounds and i would actually consider myself quite a confident person. But i’m still quiet.
It’s a part of myself that i welcome now. I definitely prefer listening to speaking and in group discussions, i’m more than happy to sit back and let everyone else have a chat.
Which is why i didn’t get the apprenticeship at the BBC. I refused to interrupt anyone and force my way into the conversation and when i did, my voice was too quiet to be heard anyway.
I think group discussions with groups bigger than four people are an unfair interview tactic. There are people out there who are quiet, but that doesn’t mean they’re less able to do the job. I’m just not an ‘in your face’ kind of person and i physically can’t make my voice be loud unless i’m shouting at my siblings.
Surprisingly, i get on better with people who are louder than i do with people who are just as quiet as me. Someone has to fill this silence! I thrive when i’m around very confident people, i feed off their confidence and transform into a whole new person.
When i’m around people like me, i’m more likely to retreat into my shell and not exude as much confidence. So, i try to find confident friends and acquaintances to bring out the best in myself.
You just have to find the right kind of confident. There’s people who are confident and try to bring you up to their level of confidence. Then, there’s people who are confident and totally bulldoze you and make you even quieter. I’ve come across quite a few of those people in my life, and we do not get on.
It’s fine, you’re not going to get on with everyone you meet. I’m not expecting to fall in love and be instant friends with everybody out there. But it’s a proper personality clash with these people and i find, honestly, a lot of them have a lack of manners.
So, i’m gonna give you a real situation that prompted this post. Max and i were at a brand lunch. We were sat at the end of the table. Two people were sat next to us, didn’t say hello or introduce themselves to us and it made us feel a little weird.
With the way that the table was set up, we couldn’t see anyone else and felt completely shut out. Any attempt to join in the conversation was bulldozed by the people next to us. It made me really, really angry.
It’s not difficult to have manners. It’s not difficult to ask questions and try to engage with everyone. Now, i’m not saying it was their responsibility to involve us, but if you hear someone speaking, wouldn’t you let them finish?
I refuse to be made to feel like a lesser human because i’m quiet. It’s been what people focus on for almost my whole life. If i had a pound for the amount of times i heard “you’re so quiet!” i genuinely wouldn’t need a job.
It’s time we stop branding ‘quiet’ as a negative trait. It’s not. Not everyone is able to dominate a conversation and that’s fine. I will always respect the people around me (unless they give me a reason not to) and i don’t think it’s too much to ask for the same in return.
I’m ‘too quiet’ and i’m proud!